Swiss stand firm over Polanski
Published 12/02/2010 | 14:54
Swiss authorities have refused to extradite Roman Polanski until a US court rules definitively that the director must face further sentencing in person in a 32-year-old sex case.
The Swiss justice ministry said it would make "no sense" to remove him from house arrest at his Alpine chalet while he seeks to resolve his US case in absentia for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Polanski's lawyers say the 76-year-old served his full sentence in 1978 when he underwent a diagnostic study at a California prison for 42 days.
Los Angeles courts have disagreed and Polanski's lawyers have promised to appeal.
"When the question is still open, why should he be extradited?," the Swiss justice ministry's deputy director, Rudolf Wyss, said. "As long as the question is still open, our decision depends on that."
Polanski lost a bid last month to be sentenced in Los Angeles without returning when a judge ruled that he must be present in court if he wanted to resolve the case.
The Oscar-winning director of Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist fled the US on February 1, 1978, the day he was to be formally sentenced after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse.
He has since lived in France, which does not extradite its citizens, but was arrested in September as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival.
The Swiss jailed Polanski for more than two months, then put him under house arrest after he posted 4.5 million dollars in bail and agreed to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet around his ankle.